In yesterday’s post I described the process of putting a hot air balloon up into the sky. After the other balloons had taken flight from the field I saw Dream Catcher off in the distance still waiting to ascend.
Jeff, the Crew Chief for his wife, pilot Elaine Anderson, was happy to see another potential crew member coming to help.
I was happily photographing while helping when Elaine asked if I’d like a ride.
Usually I love to fly even though there’s that cold feeling of fear in the pit of my stomach. This time my flight was so unexpected the fear didn’t have time to get its grip on me.
With a burst of flame we were flying into the morning sky of Marana, Arizona.
My crew members were setting up the tailgate party below and totally unaware that I was flying overhead.
It was a beautifully clear day for a flight over the Pima cotton fields and mesquite trees. Very little wind so that we basically went up and down and just thought about flying across to other fields.
Finally, Elaine decided to bring us back to Earth.
The crew came to meet us and pack the balloon away.
For those of you who have not experienced the joys of hot air ballooning here are a few tips: always bring a pair of leather gloves to handle the ropes, be hopeful, but not too disappointed if you don’t get a ride the first time you crew, and don’t rush away at the end of the flight.
Tailgating is half the fun and a chance to relax after a sometimes strenuous early morning workout of wrangling a hot air balloon into and out of the sky.